Two heavyweight dignitaries from Kenya and The Gambia land in Lagos for PANASA President’s Cup and African Youth Scrabble Championship

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…Kenya governor H.E Jeremiah Lomorukai to visit His Majesty Oba Oniru and Educationist Dr. Mrs Awosika

…The Gambia values the PANASA President’s Cup – Dr. Abba Hydara

By Maxwell Kumoye

Two heavyweight dignitaries from Kenya and The Gambia are due in Lagos on Tuesday, for the first edition of the PANASA President’s Cup (PPC) and the African Youth Scrabble Championship (AYSC) holding simultenously at the Orchid Hotel Ikota-Lekki, Lagos and the Chrisland School Lekki-Lagos between the 24th and 28th of this month.

Kenyan Governor of Turkana County His Exellency Jeremiah Lomorukai will be arriving Lagos on Tuesday along with members of Team Kenya to the two championships and Team Uganda on the wings of Kenya Airways while the President of Gambia Scrabble Association (GSA), Dr. Abba Hydara, a renowned Specialist Ophthalmic Surgeon, Glaucoma Specialist and a seasoned sports administrator will landing in Lagos aboard Air Peace.

Both Airlines are partners of the Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) and are backing both competitions.

Lomorukai, a former parliamentarian, has strong passion for sports and youth development and the growth of the game of Scrabble in Kenya and the continent of Africa is very dear to his heart.

During his stay in the Center of Excellent, the Governor who has over 25 years of excellent service in different arms of government in Kenya will pay a courtesy visit to Oba Oniru of Iruland His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II and one of Africa’s leading Educationist Dr Winifred Awosika, the founder of Chrisland Schools.


✓ Turkana County is a county in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya.

✓ It is Kenya’s largest county by land area of 71,597.8km2 followed by Marsabit County with an area of 66,923.1km2.

✓ It is bordered by the countries of Uganda to the west; South Sudan and Ethiopia, including the disputed Ilemi Triangle, to the north and northeast; and Lake Turkana to the east. To the south and east, neighbouring counties in Kenya are West Pokot, Baringo and Samburu Counties, while Marsabit County is on the opposite shore of Lake Turkana.

✓ Turkana’s capital and largest town is Lodwar.

✓The county had a population of 926,976 at the 2019 Kenya national census.

On the other hand, Dr. Abba Hydara, the President of Gambia Scrabble Association (GSA), has been the most senior, highest trained and most experienced member of the Gambia National Eye Health Programme of the Ministry of Health since 2015.

His cumulative clinical, surgical, research and teaching experience spans three decades, including extensive community and rural posting as well as leadership.

Before joining the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in 2015, the Gambia had little or nothing to offer for blinding eye problems like Glaucoma, Complicated Cataracts, Childhood Cataracts and Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and other Inflammatory Retinal problems: patients with these problems invariably slid into irreversible blindness.

Today, having presided over the only specialist eye hospital in the Gambia as the only Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist, hope and confidence has been restored to patients and families with advanced eye conditions and surgeries with safer and better outcomes assured.

Dr. Abba Hydara, will be in Lagos for the PANASA special meeting and the Awards and Gala Night, he will also be competing for honours in the President’s Cup as the sole flag bearer from The Gambia.

The Specialist Ophthalmic Surgeon who is also a university lecturer told your authoritative Scrabble News Channel First Zealmediacast Blog, that the global economy melt down has affected the game of words in The Gambia and this explains why only one player is coming to Lagos from Banjul.

Instead of heading to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA in July for the WESPA Championship, The Gambia, made the PANASA President’s Cup (PPC) it main target for the 2023 Scrabble calendar because of its strategic importance to the development of the game on the continent.

Dr Abba Hydara, was introduced to the game of Scrabble by his elder sister four decades ago. She was the first female Regional Governor in The Gambia. Aminatta Siffai Hydara.

Dr. Hydara became the Gambia’s First National Scrabble Champion in 2001 when he defeated the legendary Nigerian Scrabble player Abiola Oyinloye in a best of 3 and he hit him 2-1.

Interestingly, Abiola’s stay in the Gambia helped improve the game of Scrabble nationally.
Dr. Abba Hydara’s best International performance was at the 4th Israeli International Open Tournament where he placed 2nd after Toh Wei Bin (of Hong Kong). In that Tournament his word MIJNHEER (without a blank!) was voted the best word of that Tournament.

The fine medical doctor was a Division A player in Israel from 2008 to 2009 and consistently played professionally in Kenya.

His finest hour in Kenya was his sixth spot in 2015 before he left for The Gambia while his best performance at the African Scrabble Championship was in Cape Town, South Africa in 2014 when he finished 13th no thanks to the back to back loses to legendary Nigerian players like Tunde Oduwole, Olaiya Kabir and Dennis Ikekeregor.

Dr. Abba Hydara is currently Gambia’s national number four player behind John Sock, Omar Malleh Jah and Kebba Suso.

The widely traveled and experienced Dr. Abba Hydara, a Pan Africanist has been helping in lubricating the growth of Scrabble across Africa and he is a dependable ally of the President of PANASA Adekoyejo Adegbesan. He is expected to provide a supportive hand to the medical unit is the Main Organizing Committee for the twin events.

Players from 14 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, United States of America and host Nigeria will feature at the four-day events in the PANASA President’s Cup (PPC) for the elite while students under 15 and 19 years will participate in the African Youth Scrabble Championship (AYSC).

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